Visitor Question

Slipped on water that leaked in from my neighbor’s utility room…

Submitted By: Paula (Houston, TX)

I was going to put a cup away in the kitchen of my apartment and fell on water that had leaked from the dining room into the living room.

I called the apartment office and reported it.

They sent a maintenance man over and he said that the water was coming from the next door neighbor’s utility room.

I suffered multiple injuries, and my back and right knee are in pain. Who is responsible for this? Is it the neighbor, apartment manager, maintenance crew, or the owner of the building? I’m really not sure how to proceed. Any information you can give would be helpful. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Paula,

It’s unlikely the tenant residing in the apartment where the water leaked from is liable for your injuries and resulting damages. For purposes of personal injury claims, “damages” can include your medical and chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

If the landlord, owner, or one of their on-site employee(s), was aware of the leak and ignored it, the landlord and owner of the property may both be liable. There is an exception…

If the landlord, owner, or one of the on-site employees were not made aware of the leak, or if they were and the notice of the leak was too short for them to have time to repair it, then the landlord of owner may not be liable.

Contact the landlord, manager, or both. Do so in writing by hand-delivering your notice, or sending it certified mail, return receipt requested. The letter you send should state exactly what happened, and that as a result of the leak you sustained injuries resulting in medical and other costs. Also take photos of the leak and include them in your letter.

Next, speak with the tenant in the apartment where the leak emanated from. Ask the tenant if she had previously notified the landlord or owner, or on-site employee(s) about the leak. If so, ask the tenant how long ago the tenant had reported the leak.

The longer the amount of notice the landlord, owner, or on-site employee(s) had known about the leak, the stronger your case for damages becomes.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 20, 2014

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